Integrative Medicine and Functional Laboratory Testing
Searching for and treating the underlying cause(s) of the presenting symptoms is more successful than just treating the symptoms themselves in bringing about true healing. Getting the appropriate combination of conventional and functional laboratory testing can assist in determining the root cause of the condition.
Several common Biochemical Imbalances that are related to Mental Health conditions have been discovered and specific treatments discovered by WIlliam Walsh, Ph.D. of the Walsh Research Institute. This is an exciting treatment that is not commonly offered, especially in conventional psychiatry, that has helped tens of thousands of people who have suffered with serious depression, anxiety, ADHD, Autism, Behavior Disorders, Bipolar Disorders and even Schizophrenia. The process is relatively simple, and includes an interview to determine whether a person has various characteristics and traits that often relate to one or more of these imbalances, followed by several blood tests as well as a urine test for pyrroles. For additional information, see the YouTube video on this page.
Pyrroles are the result of a biochemical imbalance involving an abnormality in haemoglobin synthesis that can be purely genetic or acquired through environmental and emotional stress and especially from ‘leaky gut syndrome’ and the over use of antibiotics. Pyrrole disorder is caused by the overproduction of hydroxyhempyrolin (HPL). The HPL binds zinc and B6 preventing their use by the body and causing excretion in the urine and hair. HPL is a biomarker for oxidative stress and is neurotoxic. Stress of any kind will increases production of pyrroles/HPL which in turn decreases zinc and B6. The main biochemical features are of severe zinc and B6 deficiency. Zinc is essential for 100’s of processes in the body and is particularly important for healing, immune function, digestion, neurotransmitter activation, physical growth, memory, insulin sensitivity, and control of blood sugars, DNA replication and more. Zinc and B6 are essential for production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin (our happy hormone), melatonin (our sleep hormone), GABA (our relaxation hormone), and acetyl choline which is important for memory. They are also involved in production of our steroid hormones such as cortisol (our anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy hormone and stress hormone) and the conversion of oils in the body (fat metabolism, liver and gall bladder issues and weight control). The oils EPA/DHA but mostly GLA are found to be low in those with pyrrole disorder and are damaged by oxidative stress/free radicals/toxins created by pyrrole.
Other common biochemical imbalances include undermethylation or overmethylation, copper excess, copper/zinc imbalances, and excessive heavy metals or toxins, amino acid deficiencies and fatty acid imbalances. Methylation is the process of taking a single carbon and three hydrogens, known as a methyl group, and applying it to countless critical functions in your body such as: thinking, repairing DNA, turning on and off genes, fighting infections and getting rid of environmental toxins to name a few. If you tend to be undermethylated, these processes don’t happen to the extent that is needed; overmethylation is excessive amounts of methylation. Both can cause both physical and emotional symptoms. Copper and zinc are minerals that our body needs in just the right amounts and in a proper ratio for appropriate function of many biochemical processes in the body. High levels of copper can come from food, copper pipes, copper sulfate in swimming pools, and disorders of copper metabolism in the body; often estrogen will worsen this problem.
Hypothyroidism, whether Primary Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease), secondary to treatment for hyperthyroidism or surgery for removal of a mass or cancer, produces symptoms that strongly resemble depression. This is true even when the TSH, a lab test gotten by conventional physicians to evaluate the thyroid gland function, is reported to be “normal” This test only measures the amount of a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland to tell the thyroid to make thyroid hormone – he lower the amount of thyroid hormone being produced, the higher the level of TSH is released. There can be many reasons why this messenger hormone may not be high, even if the thyroid is not functioning well. Therefore, a full thyroid series is necessary to evaluate the thyroid function; this includes the TSH, but also the free T4, Free T3, reverse T3, TPO antibodies, Anti-thyroglobulin antibodies, and ideally the total T4 and T3. These tests can also determine if someone has Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or hyperthyroidism. Hashimoto’s can present like depression, mania, anxiety and even psychosis, and can often be related to the body having a sensitivity to specific foods, causing the production of antibodies which then attack certain organs/proteins in the body that have similar patterns to that food.
Adrenal Fatigue/ Dysfunction is often related to problems with the thyroid. It can result in anxiety and agitation (feeling wired but tired) when too much cortisol is being produced in Stage 1 adrenal fatigue and in depression and lethargy when low levels of cortisol are able to be made, such as in Stage 3 adrenal exhaustion. This is not a condition the majority of conventional physicians acknowledge; they will diagnose Cushings Disease if someone is making too much cortisol and Addison’s Disease if they are not making any cortisol but nothing in between. Adrenal Dysfunction is diagnosed either by saliva tests or dried urine tests done 4 times in a single day and comparing the pattern to the typical pattern of being highest in the morning and gradually dropping throughout the day and into the night.
Digestive System Conditions:
Many people do not realize that there is a very strong relationship between the brain, including emotions and behaviors, and the digestive system. The bacteria, yeasts and viruses that normally live in the gut far outnumber the number of human cells in the human body, and are responsible for as much as 100 times the number of genes necessary for our body to function. These gut microbes make as much as 95% of the neurotransmitters in our body, especially as related to serotonin and dopamine. The vagus nerve, which goes from the brainstem to the gut and other organs, acts as a communication highway and functions in both directions – and actually has more signals that go from the gut to the brain than from the brain to the gut. Issues in the gut that need to be assessed to determine if there is a gastrointestinal problem that could be associated with mental conditions include infections, food sensitivities and allergies, intestinal permeability, nutritional absorption problems and others. Common functional testing includes Organic Acid Testing, Comprehensive Stool Analysis, Food Allergy Testing (or Elimination Diets), Celiac Disease Testing, Tests for Intestinal Permeability, and Nutritional Deficiency testing.